I’ve always had this desire to build.
It didn’t matter what it was. I built with blocks as a child. I build with code today. I’ve built with instruments and computers and most anything I could get my hands on. I’ve built a business. I’ve built a restaurant. I’ve built a hundred websites and a universe of support from my friends. I enjoy the act of building more than the finished product itself- being suspended in a state of perpetual progress. Unfortunately, I wasn’t always building. I spent the last couple of years tearing down a few things. I didn’t even know it was happening to tell you the truth. It just crept up on me when I wasn’t looking.
The last few years of my life have been very humbling for me.
I became complacent in my work life, which led me to become more relaxed in my personal life. That’s not a great combo and I don’t recommend it. Once that happened I started to believe I was in complete control of everything. I thought I was cool enough to hang in any situation, solve any problem or manage any personality. So I made a few bad personal decisions including letting someone into my life that I shouldn’t have. I let down the emotional wall that I had spent so many years building up. And once I did that I was no longer moving forward. It was an unhealthy relationship that infected every part of my life. I found myself going backwards. Really fast.
I lost my self-confidence, grew fearful of change and even more fearful of putting trust into people I didn’t know. Instead of taking chances and putting myself out in front like I always have, I withdrew. It affected my work. It affected my personal life. It fundamentally changed who I was.
But that’s ok. It happens. I won’t make excuses. I wasn’t dealt a bad hand; I shouldn’t have been sitting at the table in the first place. We all make the ultimate decisions as to how we live our lives. No one else. Blaming other people is just a form of insecurity.
The people you choose to make a part of your life are of the utmost importance of how your entire universe plays out.
That was the realization. That was my epiphany. Life is just a series of people and events that keep you busy while you travel from one edge of the universe to the other. Certain people will give you support and opportunities to capitalize on. Others will take them away. Certain people will give you the energy to face each day while other ones will drain you of everything you have. I’ve been on both sides of that equation.
This was the life lesson I needed to realize how lucky I really am. That the people in my life- my friends and my family provide me tremendous support and opportunity. Without this strong foundation I’m not sure I would be able to achieve anything. I didn’t just owe it to myself to get myself back up. I owed it to them
Late last year, Ashtan Moore, a founder of Model B, gave me an opportunity. As a matter of fact he has been trying to give me this opportunity over the last few years. But I didn’t acknowledge him because I still wasn’t ready to remove the boundaries I had drawn. But I decided to start a conversation with him. At the very least I needed to take the time to listen. If I didn’t I would be contradicting everything that I spent so much time trying to convince myself of.
So I met with Model B. It didn’t take long for the switch to flip back on. After only a few meetings they made it clear they wanted me on their team and that I could help make a difference. They have open lines of communication and are focused on building the right culture. I saw an enthusiasm and dedication that I used to feel but had since lost. And it wasn’t just the three partners I was excited about working with. The entire team at Model B was super creative, hard-working, and just as dedicated as the founders are to the company. It was pure energy. Positivity. They were building a universe of their own.
I wanted to build it with them.
Leaving my company was not an easy decision.
I had spent the last ten years running D*MNGOOD, a D.C.-based creative agency, that I founded with two of my best friends. That’s an opportunity not many people get to experience. I struggled with it. Lost sleep over it. Thought about it. Stressed about it. Paced back and forth almost every day. I had spent so much time building this agency it was just hard to come to terms with walking away from it. But that’s ok.
Because life is just a series of people and events to keep you busy as you travel from one edge of the universe to another.
D*MNGOOD was just one of those events with two of those people. It was one of the best times in my life and it helped prepare me for the next phase of my life. I will always be grateful for that opportunity. But it shouldn’t’ be my last.
I feel like I’m building something again.
I’ve been a partner at Model B since January and it’s a great feeling. I have a new opportunity and a new team of people that are putting their trust in me to help them take their company to the next level. In these past eight months I feel like I’ve accomplished more than I have in the previous 3 years. It’s been a lot of hours and one hell of a grind but every minute of it has been fulfilling. It’s allowed me to reflect on everything that happened and start mapping out everything I’m setting out to accomplish:
Like stop feeling bad yourself because it’s a waste of time. Stop making excuses because you got yourself into the situation. Stop holding yourself back from taking risks because you get nowhere that way. Keep yourself busy because boredom can be dangerous. Meet new people because it’s an important part of being human. Have new conversations because it’s fun. Argue with someone smarter than you because you need to be challenged. Hug somebody because it really does feel good. Love what you do every day. LOVE SOMEBODY for Christ’s sake. Work hard at what you do because that’s what you’re supposed to do. Work hard at being with your family because they love you. Be thankful for everything your family has done for you. Do everything possible to maintain your friendships. Realize your friends are the reason you can get out of bed and face the world each day. Give someone else an opportunity because you have too many. Realize you’re at the halfway point and you need to get on getting on. Get a dog. Produce a radio show. Write a song. Play in a rock band. Open a restaurant. Build a family. Build a business. Build a foundation. Build your Universe.
Just build something. Build anything. Build all the things.
Let’s build things together.
As Creative Technologist & Partner at Model B, Mark works with clients to provide creative and technical solutions. He inspires them to leverage technology for its highest value and create immersive brand engagements that best showcase a company to the world via digital and physical mediums.
Mark is also responsible for the day to day management of the web production team — strengthening how design, story and tech blend into innovative physical and digital experiences. He strives to facilitate a balance between the creative excellence of his project teams and the restrictions of project constraints. His technical ability to work directly in the web production environment enables him the first-hand knowledge to manage with the theme of ‘create aggressively, iterate often’.